It would let Frederick County outlaw the substance.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday took testimony on a bill to ban synthetic marijuana in Frederick County. It's emergency legislation which would take affect after it passes the General Assembly and is signed into law by the Governor.
"Actually, we have several statewide bills to ban the possession or sale of synthetic marijuana. Last week, we had a bill for just Frederick County to ban the sale," says Delegate Patrick Hogan.
Synthetic marijuana is also sold under the names "spice" and "K-2." The City of Frederick has banned the sale of that stuff, along with the Towns of Thurmont and Walkersville. But those who want to sell this product can move out of these municipalities, and set up shop in the county, where it's not illegal.
"I think the best way is certainly a statewide bill, because that bans it across the state, and we don't have to worry about it in Maryland. But short of that, at least we can do it in Frederick County," Hogan says.
Many manufacturers of this substance can make slight chemical alternations to their product to make it legal. Hogan says there's a bill in the General Assembly to address that as well. "If the combination meets a certain number of chemicals, it would still be under the ban. That is certainly a concern, but there is legislation to deal with that," he says.
Like many supporters of the ban, Hogan says this stuff is dangerous. "Just as early as last week, I came across an article about a teenager, I believe it was in Houston, Texas, who was near death because she used synthetic marijuana," and had a negative reaction to one of the chemicals. "She just nearly escaped death," he said.
Some statewide bills addressing synthetic marijuana have gone down to defeat in the past, but Hogan says he's is confident one of the bills being put forward this year will pass. "From talking to committee members, it looks like they do have some traction and they might be successful this year," he says.